Acrobat illustrating the state of equilibrium

62.1 x 22.5 x 20
Carved, painted and gilded wood, brass and iron

INDEX 1788 : B.IV.95

Homumculus ligneus a Teichmejero inventus, qui uni insistens pedi tuto circumvertitur super basim ligneam affabre elaboratam, cujus caput est ex orichalco.

Little wooden man, invented by Teichmejero, who stands securely on one foot and turns round on an artistically carved wooden base, and whose top part is of brass.

This acrobat is holding a bent rod with a brass ball at each end. A small iron spike under his left foot is resting on a small brass disc at the top of an ornately carved wooden column. The piece was used in experimental physics classes to show the importance of the position of an object´s centre of gravity relative to its surface of support, when in a stable state of equilibrium.

The figure is stable when the vertical line passing through its centre of gravity intersects the contact point of the spike and its support. This point is above the centre of gravity of the system formed by the acrobat and his equipment.

Nollet, Jean-Antoine, Leçons de Physique Expérimentale, Paris, 1764, Vol. III, Pl. 1, Fig.2.

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